Summer Holiday Pawns

Separated parents are using their children as pawns in disputes over new partners during the summer holidays, according to family lawyers, who claim that up to three quarters of disputes over residence or contact with children are the result of rows about former partners’ new relationships.

The Manchester-based firm Pannone says that the majority of complaints are made by parents worried about being replaced in their children’s affections.

Cara Nuttall, an associate at Pannone, said: “Spending time with parents during the summer holidays increases the likelihood of children meeting their mother or father’s new partner and, therefore, the potential for problems.

“These situations are so emotive that parents sometimes don’t act or think in a rational manner.”  Pannone also believes that up to 30 per cent of complaints about residence or contact with children are in fact attempts to stop former partners making a fresh start.

Ms Nuttall said: “In our experience and that of colleagues across the country, the problem often lies more with the parents than the children involved.  Even though it may be difficult to do, parents need to focus on a child’s best interests.”  (Irish Times)